ETX PREMIER EDITION FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 30 April 2008

This page is for user comments and information specific to the ETX PE (Premier Edition). Feedback on the specific PE technologies (Automatic Alignment + SmartFinder, Level North Technology) will be covered here. Feedback on the Autostar Suite AE (Astronomer Edition) will be posted on the regular Autostar Suite feedback page. Items that are applicable to all ETX models (EC, AT, PE) will continue to be posted on the other appropriate feedback pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.


Subject:	ETX-125 PE auto align altitude problems
Sent:	Wednesday, April 30, 2008 15:28:05
From:	ljfinger@msn.com
I've searched and searched (on your site and elsewhere), fiddled and
fiddled, and can't find the problem here.

I place the scope in the home position, turn it on, and ask it to auto
align.  It does its dance of finding level and North, and seems to do so
pretty accurately in both cases.  It then slews to the first star and
nails it dead on in azimuth, but ends up way below it in altitude (like
30 degrees, give or take).  I bring that star into the viewfinder and
set it, and it slews to the next star and is again way below it, by
about the same amount.  I again set it at which point auto align reports
failed.

Two star align and one star align seem to work perfectly.

If the problem is with the level, would the scope end up very nearly
dead level during the finding level process regardless of where I start
it?  I ask because it does.  Is the level sensor in the red-dot finder? 
I have re-seated the four-pin connector to that device, and the finder
seems to work.

I've checked and re-checked my setting of site location, time zone,
daylight savings, time and date.  They are all correct near as I can
tell.  Besides, wouldn't an error there affect azimuth too?

I'm at a loss as to what to try next.

Thanks for the help, and the great site you have put together.

Lee Jay Fingersh
Mike here: Couple of questions: have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? Have you done a CALIBRATE SENSOR?

And:

I have done a calibrate motor and a calibrate sensor (sorry, meant to
mention that in my message).  I have not done a train, because I thought
that was the 24-minute process of correcting for periodic errors by
manually correcting them in the eye piece while tracking.
Mike here: TRAIN DRIVES is different than the PEC calibration. It is done so that the AutoStar knows how many pulses from the encoder translates to how much movement in the sky. So, do the TRAIN DRIVES on a distant object. Don't forget to train on both axes. Also, did you use ZIPCODE or CITY NAME for your location. I recommend using CITY NAME.

And:

I used Lat and Lon, accurate to about 1 arc second.

If the training were terribly off, enough to cause an azimuth error of
30 degrees, wouldn't the tracking have trouble?  I left it on Saturn for
about half an hour a couple of nights ago, and it was still in the
viewfinder of a 15mm EP at the end of that time.  It seems to track
accurately, and gotos work very well after the 2-star align.

Nevertheless, I'll give training a go.

One more thing...I haven't done anything with the software in the hand
controller since I got the scope.  I was going to work on the PC
software and updating elements and so on after I got the scope working
fine on its own.

Lee Jay
Mike here: Even better, IF you properly set the TIMEZONE offset (and 30 degrees does sound like a two hour error, but typically not in azimuth only as the error would be in Right Ascension). GOTOs, having to slew the telescope a long ways, will show a training error more rapidly than will tracking. But it does sound like just an initial alignment error. Just to confirm, you are setting up in the proper HOME position, right? For Auto Align, it is a different starting position than the HOME position for non-Auto Align modes. And one other thing, place the control panel on the west side of the mount. You should use west based on True North, not Magnetic North.

And:

Well, let's see.  I set my timezone to -7.0 (I'm in US Mountain Time)
and daylight savings time to on.

I've tried it with the computer panel on both the East and the West.  No
difference as far as I can tell (I thought that should only make a
difference in polar mode).

As for home for auto-align, I manually slew the azimuth
counter-clockwise until I hit the stop, then lock the clutch.  I point
the scope approximately horizontal and lock the alt-clutch.  When the
scope is in this position, it's West of North when I place the tripod. 
In two-star, I try to get it to true North instead.  Is that wrong? 
I've tried it with the alt in different positions from horizontal, and
it seems to make no difference.

Lee Jay
Mike here: MST is -7. If your location observes Daylight Saving then YES is correct. i'm in Arizona so it is always NO. The west/east only matters since it tells the AutoStar where the two hard stops are and it can then avoid them. It sounds like you have the HOME positions correct. For Auto Align the OTA should be pointed roughly southwest. When the Level-ing and North-ing complete, the OTA may not be level nor pointed to North.

And:

Okay, I trained the drive, and just for fun I cal'd the sensors.  At the
end, it asks you to point it toward Polaris, which I couldn't do since
it's light outside.  The funny part is, it set the Alt to 20 degrees
right on the nose (I'm at 3952' N).  Is it possible that I did this
sensor cal and set it wrong by 20 degrees (down relative to Polaris) at
some point and that caused my issue?  I'd like to think I can find
Polaris, but it's possible I screwed that up big time.  Unfortunately,
it looks like Polaris won't be available for the next 2-3 nights due to
weather.

Lee Jay
Mike here: I doubt that you inadvertantly did a CALIBRATE SENSOR to the wrong star but it is possible.

And a late breaking update:

Sent:	Wednesday, April 30, 2008 19:59:25
From:	ljfinger@msn.com
That was it!  I must have performed the CALIBRATE SENSOR operation on a
star about 20 degrees down from Polaris the last time!  How odd is that?
I've only been able to identify Polaris since I was about 3!

So, if I'm to understand, when someone buys an ETX PE, they should:

Enter the date and local time
Enter the time zone they are in
Set the daylight savings time field appropriately
Enter their location, preferably with LAT/LON but city name is next best
Calibrate motors
Train drives on a distant terrestrial object
Place scope in Level North home position (computer panel West, Azimuth
locked at counter-clockwise stop, Altitude axis locked approximately at
level) which will put the scope level and pointing South-West
Calibrate sensors (and be SURE to hit Polaris!)
Run an auto-align
Go viewing / shooting

Does that sound about right?

Thanks for all your help!

Lee Jay Fingersh

P.S.  The operation to tighten up the scope in Azimuth that involves
gluing some tire-patch rubber in place on the side support is a massive
pain.  I spent about 4 hours trying before I gave up and came up with a
solution that ended up taking about 15 seconds, with no need to take the
scope apart at all.  I stacked up a few layers of electrical tape (I
used three per side but other users may need more or less - mine was
pretty tight), stuck a corner to my knife, gently pried open the gap on
each side with my thumb and forefinger, placed the tape in place with
the knife, and let go.  Worked great and only took a few seconds.  I can
add more tape layers easily the same way, if needed.
Mike here: Yep, you got it!

Subject:	ETX PE Feedback: Another ETX125PE User - And A Happy One At That!
Sent:	Tuesday, April 29, 2008 06:25:27
From:	Simon Trenerry (Simon@aboutroofing.co.uk)
This is my first posting to this site.

I just wanted to add to the post from another ETX owner: Robert McTaque
re: being a happy ETX PE Owner.

I have just purchased an ETX125PE from Broadhurst, Clarkson & Fuller
(Telescope House) in Kent in the UK and am extremely pleased with it:
Everything works perfectly and the manuals are excellent - Reading them
and taking your time is the key. Setting up during the day and training
the drives, adjusting the finder etc is essential, so that you are ready
to go when it gets dark.

I got my scope set up and was observing in under five minutes last night
- it was just a shame that it clouded over ten minutes later!

I would just add that this is my second ETX125PE - the first had a
faulty finder and was exchanged with no quibbling whatsoever by the
above dealer who bent over backwards to make sure that I was happy.

Simon Trenerry
Reigate, Surrey, England

Subject:	A new ETX125 user, and very happy
Sent:	Thursday, April 24, 2008 12:54:38
From:	Langwoods Photography (langwood@farmside.co.nz)
A lot of the posts here are negative, or users with issues, just wanted
to add that a few days ago I purchased my second ETX, previously used a
ETX90, now have ETX125PE, had no tracking issues, or setup.  I have sold
scopes for years as part of my business and find that many issues are
user problems, not reading manuals, not training drives etc. Anyway this
is my first post, and I am very pleased with my new portable scope, the
8 inch can stay at home a bit more.
 
Robert McTague  New Zealand

Subject:	How do I align the ETX 125PE +
Sent:	Wednesday, April 23, 2008 13:50:52
From:	John Huntsberger (banjojohn@earthlink.net)
I just located you site.  I also just got one of Astronomics' ETX 125PE
'scopes.  My initial question is:  What does the PE abbreviate?

I have found the manual that came with it to be less than accurate when
giving directions for a two-star alignment.  Are there such directions
on your web site as well as those for step-by-step training in alt-az
mode.  

I am a visual observer only, but cannot seem to accurately align it.
 Thank you, John

John Huntsberger
Austin, TX

Be curious always!  Knowledge will not        
       acquire you; you must acquire it.
Mike here: PE = Premier Edition. There are many articles on AutoStar Alignment on the Helpful Information: AutoStar Info page. Remember that Auto Align on the PE models has a different HOME position than the other alignment modes.

And:

Thanks for the quick reply, Mike.  I'll check out what you wrote.  John

Subject:	GOTO problems after Auto Align
Sent:	Sunday, April 20, 2008 01:09:10
From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
There seems to be a lot of reports of people having problems with the
accuracy of GOTO's after an Auto Align with the ETX PE. Most of the
problems seem to be with objects in our solar system like the Moon and
planets, even when all calibrations are carefully performed.

I've done a lot of testing with my ETX125PE  and believe the problem is
with the database or ephemeris the Autostar uses for calculating the
position of solar system objects. I've found that a GOTO for a star or a
deepspace object is almost always well within the FOV of a 26mm
eyepiece, but the Moon or a planet requires a lot of tweaking to bring
it in. Maybe this is something Meade should take a look at.

Regards,
Mike Hogan

Subject:	Re: Autostar 497 - seemingly missing option for smart finder setup.
Sent:	Friday, April 18, 2008 20:47:10
From:	patric9956@aol.com (patric9956@aol.com)
I recieved my replacement 125PE today.  The auto setup feature is
present as well as the finder scope setup option. The LED on the Smart
scope is operational also.  It looks like the first 125PE was defective.

Change of subject, have you noticed that the dust cap on this scope is
exceedingly hard to remove - you have to be careful in not removing the
objective lens.

Thanks for the help and take care.

Patrick
Mike here: Some caps do seem tighter than others.
Subject:	Re: SMART FINDER ERROR
Sent:	Thursday, April 17, 2008 23:33:40
From:	Gauge Tools Old (gtd@iafrica.com)
Well I changed the battery with no luck.

I removed the bottom cover of the scope and checked all the wiring
connections and they all look good.

The battery I replaced was also checked for voltage. just in case I
bought a dud.

This is an interesting fault. The only problem we have is there is no
service agent in South Africa and the cost of sending it for repair is
so expensive you might aswell buy a new one scope.

Well if all else fails the scope is still good and the tracking fine I
will just have to fit a small spotting scope to the body.

Thanks for all the help

Daniel
Mike here: You didn't say if the Auto Align option appeared. Does it?
Subject:	re: expitations of etx125c premiere auto alignment
Sent:	Thursday, April 17, 2008 20:13:22
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You (and dozens of others) wrote:
> Sent it to the moon and for some reason it couldnt find the
> largest object in the sky.  I found that funny.
> Any idea why it cant find the moon but it did find everything else?

(i must have written the following at least two dozen times)

Why the Autostar (sometimes) misses the moon:
The location of the moon is perhaps the most complicated calculation the
Autostar is asked to make.
That's because the moon's *orbit* is not a simple matter...

First, it orbits the earth.
But it's pulling on the oceans, and they pull back.  So the speed of
it will vary along the orbital path (slightly) depending upon what's
under it (dry land or ocean).
Next, we're both orbiting the sun... and the moon is drawn towards
the sun a little less when it's "outside" (full moon) the earth's
orbit than when it's "inside" (new moon).
The sun's position also affects the tides, which adds a second-hand
effect upon the moon.
Next, it's fairly massive... so the -earth- is not in the -center-
of the lunar orbit, but slightly offset.. we both orbit around a
common center of mass.
Next, we're not alone... Jupiter's position affects the moon's speed
and the shape of its orbit (the Autostar takes that one into account).
Next, the moon is -close-, so parallax happens: where it is in the sky
(apparent RA/DEC) shifts side-to-side as the earth's diurnal rotation
swings you, the observer, underneath it from rise to transit to set
(this alone can make a full moon-width's difference).

The Autostar's calculations of the positions of the orbiting bodies
are -approximations-, with their accuracies curtailed by the amount of time
it would take for the very pokey, very under-powered computer chip they use
to really work it out to fine detail.

The moon may be big, bright and obvious to -you-, but the Autostar
doesn't have any "eyes" to help it... only math.  But the shoe could
be on the other foot: given where the moon is *now*, let's see you
point (within a degree) to where it will be in two nights at the
same time you're observing now.  Put a dot on a star chart with
your prediction, and check it in two nights.  I'd bet that the
Autostar will be more accurate, even if it misses being spot-on.

have fun
--dick
From:	michael haber (woodzs@mac.com)
You guys are great and i appreciate the education. Now i feel much
better with my alignment procedures knowing that it may not always track
the moon correctly.  Luckily its big enough for me to find when i want
look at it.

Thanks again for all your help.
Mike here: Personally I have never had GOTO problems with the Moon on any of my AutoStar telescopes. Your mileage may vary.

And:

well if i have good weather im going out again tonight.  Will take extra
trim on my alignment and let you know if i have better luck.  What is
the latest version of the autostar software? ill confirm that also.

Thanks agian
Mike here: Version 4.3Eg.
Subject:	Carrying case for etx 90PE Blue tube
Sent:	Thursday, April 17, 2008 02:58:45
From:	mirko x (aaleph@hotmail.it)
Thanks for your website Mike,
 
I'm writing from Italy

Two questions if you don't mind


1)- Which is the correct MEADE alluminium carrying case for my Etx 90PE
Blue tube?

It has the second version of the red-dot smartfinder, 2007.

I found different codes online but i don't manage to understand well
#7605 #7608 #760?

Pls find here enclosed photo of my Etx model.

photo

2)- What kind of carrying case would you prefer to suggest me? The brand
or the type doesn't matter.
 
Thank for your help
 
Mirko Conti
41100 Modena
Italy
Mike here: Older ETX cases don't have a cutout for the LNT/Smartfinder. If you get a case without the cutout you could cut it out yourself. For more on cases see the Accessory Reviews: Cases and the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page. There are also case dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page.

And:

thanks!

Subject:	SMART FINDER ERROR
Sent:	Wednesday, April 16, 2008 23:24:42
From:	Gauge Tools Old (gtd@iafrica.com)
I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO CONTACT MEADE WITH NO JOY. I AM IN SOUTH AFRICA
AND WITH OUT E-MAIL SEEM TO MISS THEM DURING OFFICE HOURS.

I HAVE A ETX 125 PREMIER EDITION. THE SMALL RED DOT FOR THE SMART FINDER
IS NOT FLASHING. THE MANUAL SAID I SHOULD HOLD THE MODE BUTTON FOR TWO
SECONDS , THEN SCOLL TO "FINDER SET" ONLY PROBLEM IS THIS IS NOT IN THE
MENU.

I HAVE ALSO TRY GOING THROUGH THE REST OF THE MENU TO FIND IT WITH NO
LUCK.

AFTER ALL THAT I RESET THE CONTROLLER AND TRYED AGAIN.

AM I RUNNING AN OLDER VERSION , OR IS THERE A DIFFERNT MANUAL I SHOULD
BE USING.

WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE SOME HELP
 
DANIEL
Mike here: First, please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page about using ALL CAPS. Thanks for understanding. As to the missing "Finder" menu, it is possible that the AutoStar is not "seeing" the LNT module. Does "Auto Align" appear in the alignment options? If not, then the AutoStar is definitely not seeing it. Check the LNT battery. For a lot more on this problem, see the current Premier Edition feedback page (I'll be posting more follow-up today) as well as the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.

And:

Thanks for the feedback, appreciated.
I will pick up a new battery for the scope today, it's almost two years
old and probably on it's way out

Thanks

Daniel

Subject:	expitations of etx125c premiere auto alignment
Sent:	Tuesday, April 15, 2008 18:32:56
From:	michael haber (woodzs@mac.com)
I was wondering what i can expect from the etx125c premiere auto
alignment.  I go though the auto align procedure, where it finds north,
finds level, finds slew and then moves to the 1st of 2 alignment stars. 
I center that and then it moves to the next alignment star, which i
center again.  Then I tell it to slew to the moon for example.  I expect
the moon to be centered or at least in the field of view, which it is
not. I have to manually slew the scope to get it into the fov.   I have
gone though the calibrate sensors and also the training the drive in the
hopes that it would help.  I tell it to move to Saturn and once again it
is no where to be found in the field of view.  I need to manually center
using the finder and then its there.  Is there something else i need to
do.  Am i missing a setup step.  I have read the manual forward and back
thinking i am missing something. I have not manually leveled the tripod
as i didn't think i needed to with the premiere.  Once i manually center
what i am looking at it seems to track just fine from what i can tell.

You have a great website with tons of info.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Mike Haber
Mike here: You didn't say that you did a CALIBRATE MOTOR. Do that and see if it helps. Also, check your location, date, time settings as well as the Daylight Saving setting. Have you tried Easy Align? If so, are the GOTOs better?

And:

I know that location, date and time are correct as i have checked them
multiple times.  And daylight savings is set to on, which i believe is
correct. I live in florida which i believe is on Daylight savings now.

If i have good weather tonight i will try the easy align and see how
that goes.  I will also go through the calibrate motor and let you know
the results.  When i saw that the calibrate motor can take 25minutes i
decided against it.

Mike
Mike here: CALIBRATE MOTOR is an automatic operation when selected and takes about 2 seconds. It is the ROM update that takes 25-30 minutes.

And:

I appreciate your help so far.  Before i go out this evening i want to
make sure i understand the home position.  I seem to see contradicting
info on the proper home position for the etx 125c in the manual.

For auto align i just go outside and plop my tripod down rotate the
forks counter clockwise until they hit the stops and put the tube close
to level and then let the auto align run.  Is this correct?  Does the
tripod need to be pointing a certain direction or be leveled?  It
levels, finds north, finds slew and then moves to an alignment star.

In the manual there is one page that says the 1 star and 2 star
alignment have a different home positions but yet the 2 star and easy
alignment page says to follow the home position for the auto align.  It
also makes no mention of leveling the tripod.  What procedure do i need
to follow for the easy align?  Does it find level and north itself?  I
see a part where it says the home position is rotated counterclockwise
to the stop and then back to where the fork is over the control panel.

I just want to make sure that i do it right so that I am not creating my
own problem and can figure out how to make the goto more accurate.

Again thanks for you help.  Even though the goto isn't quit accurate
yet, seeing saturn with my very own telescope was well worth it.

Mike
Mike here: The HOME POSITION is different for Auto vs other alignments. For Auto Align you do rotate CCW to the hard stop and leave it there. For non-Auto rotate CCW to the hard stop and back about 120 degrees to have the tube pointed towards True North. In both cases if you place the control panel on the ETX base on the west side you will have better results. For non-Auto you also need to level the tube (I usually just eyeball it). For best results the tripod should be level but again, just eyeballing it may be all you need. The AutoStar can correct for a lot of level error.

And:

Ok, ill let you know how it goes.  Nice clear night here in Sarasota fl.
should be great.  We are looking forward to seeing the iss move across
the sky at 8:10.  We are just going to look with our eyes.  We saw the
hubble the other evening.

And:

Well kids and I successfully saw the iss move from ne to the se.  They
enjoyed that.

Once it got dark enough I did a calibrate motors which as you said took
about 2 seconds.  Leveled tripod with a small torpedo level and also
leveled the tube.  Set the arm over the control pannel and pointed the
tube north.  Did the easy 2 star alignment.  Told it to goto the moon
and it wasnt even close. Luckly i could see the moon and get it in the
fov.  I figured at this point i still had a problem.  For the heck of it
i told it to goto saturn and believe it or not it was in the fov on the
lower 25%.  I am using a 26mm super plossol.  I was very happy to see it
there.  Told it to goto sirrus and it was also in the fov. Told it to
goto capella and it was in the fov.  Sent it back to Saturn and again in
the fov.  Sent it to the moon and for some reason it couldnt find the
largest object in the sky.  I found that funny.

Any idea why it cant find the moon but it did find everything else? 
Otherwise a very successful evening.

If i get time ill mess around with the auto align and see if i can
figure out what went wrong there.  I have a feeling it is possibly do to
not leveling the tripod.  So i may give that a go.  Regardless it was
quite easy to do a 2 star alignment.  And as long as i have a small
level and compass there really is no reason to have to do an auto align.

Thanks

Mike
Mike here: There is a good clue what could be wrong. The Moon isn't correct but other fixed and moving objects are. The Moon's position changes a lot over time. So I suspect you have a date problem. Check the Day, Month, and Year in the AutoStar.

And:

Day, month and year were accurate. as was the time.  Location is also
correct.  Set to Sarasota Florida.  Daylight savings is turned to on. 
Well at least i am  moving in the correct direction.
Mike here: Odd. Try the Auto Align again. Also, try another Easy Align just to see what happens.

And:

when setting daylight savings time to on is the time supposed to be the
current time, or should it be 1 hour less?  Does turning daylight
savings time to on subtract an hour from the current time when it does
its math or does it add an hour?

For example it is actually 10pm, we are on dst so in reality it is 9pm
as far as the cosmos are concerned. So is the autostar set to 10pm with
daylight savings turned on and it subtracts an hour internally? or is it
set to 9pm and daylight savings is turned on and it adds an hour
internally.

Thats about the only thing that i can think of.  Because everything else
is correct.
Mike here: The Local Time will be correct when the Daylight Saving setting is set correctly for your location. The correction is applied to GMT. But you could also try a different city. It could be that the location you picked has an error in the database.

And:

so if i have daylight savings on, and have set the time set to 10pm and
it is 10pm this would be correct?

ill also give a different city a try. and ill try and program my own
location with the proper lat info and see what happens.
Mike here: Yes, that would be correct. The simplest way to enter a city is to edit a nearby existing one. That way you get the time zone offset correct.
Subject:	New ETX 125 PE owner with a few questiions
Sent:	Monday, April 14, 2008 08:56:32
From:	Ian Pearson (ian.pearson@sns.bskyb.com)
Firstly let me congratulate you on what looks (to me at least) like a
very comprehensive website.

I recently purchased a new Meade ETX 125 PE telescope (my first scope)
and have been having a few problems.

After going through the alignment procedures and calibrating the
sensors, then selecting "go to  moon" the scope does not even get close
to the target.

I also bought a Konus 5829 CMOS camera which I'm told should focus
automatically but doesn't appear to.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Best Regards
 
Ian
 
Ian Pearson
Mike here: Have you done a CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES? The motor calibration is different than the sensor calibration. Also, have you selected the correct Site location and Daylight Saving setting? As to camera, how are you connecting it to the telescope?

And:

Wow that was quick!
 
Ah  no I haven't. I'll try that on the next clear night and will let you
know how I get on..

Site location and daylight saving settings are correct.

Re the camera  I'm simply putting it in the eyepiece holder and
connecting to a laptop via a USB lead.

Thanks for such a speedy reply
 
Regards
 
Ian
Mike here: Does the camera have a lens? If so, you need to remove it when just using the telescope without an eyepiece.
Subject:	re: Autostar 497 - seemingly missing option for smart finder setup.
Sent:	Sunday, April 13, 2008 17:20:07
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
My vote is a loose connector between the Autostar and LNT module.
IF it externally plugs into the AUX socket (versus hidden wiring),
then perhaps the Autostar HANDBOX cable is at fault... swap it
end-for-end and see if the Finder appears in the menu.

The CR2032 battery only powers the -clock-.  The finder light,
and communications module are powered by the telescope's main
battery.

There are some photos (i -think- on Mike's site under Telescope
Tech Tips) showing the hidden LNT connector -loose- under the
rear plastic mirror cell cover.  I don't remember which model
of scope was being pictured.

good luck
--dick

And:

From:	patric9956@aol.com (patric9956@aol.com)
Thank you for your reply.  Under the align menu I have the following
choices (easy, one star, and two star).  That is all, there is no
auto-feature.  My finder scope must be the newer variety, as the view
lens is on top.

I did remove the rubber boot from the lens.  The LED does not illuminate
at all; even when I depress the "zero" key.  I am thinking I have a
defective LNT module.

Patrick
Mike here: Then the AutoStar is not seeing the LNT/Smartfinder module for some reason. Could be a disconnected wire, a broken wire, or something other reason. Check the troubleshooting tips that Dick mentioned.

And:

I did some dis-assembly today on the scope.  I did find the plug
connection where the LNT interfaces with the rest of the scope
electronics.  I did disconnect and reconnect that connection with no
change in status.  Are you suggesting that this plug interface might
actually be "reversible" (i.e., I can rotate one of the connectors 180
degrees and plug it in again)?  I'll try this....

It is not reversible, it is a keyed connection.  It was secure, though.

Patrick

P.S. Thank you all also.  That keyed connection resides at the 1200
position (looking from the backside) inside the plastic housing that is
held on by one (!) allen screw.  You remove the screw and the plastic
housing, to which, the smart finder is attached, pops right off.
Mike here: If the connection on both ends is secure then something else is amiss. If the telescope is new I suggest contacting your dealer for an exchange. You don't want to break something during troubleshooting and invalidate the warranty.

And:

You have a very good point.  Thanks for your assistance.

Patrick

And:

> It is not reversible, it is a keyed connection.  It was secure, though.

No... the cable i was talking about is the one between the Autostar
and the Telescope... the handbox cable.  It (RJ45 plug on both ends)
is reversible  (i.e. unplug end (a) from Autostar, unplug end (b) from
telescope.  Insert plug (b) into Autostar, insert plug (a) into telescope.)
You have now shuffled "which wire carries which signal", due to the
wiring of the cable.

good luck
--dick

And:

I swapped the handset communications cable - to no avail.  I called my
vendor today to set up an exchange for a new scope.  Thanks again for
your help.

Patrick

And:

From:	John Sabella (jsabella@tuttnauer.com)
I'm responding to Patrick O'Brien's problem about not getting a Red Dot.
He replaced the CR2032 and you have to extremely careful once you pull
off the top cover to the LNT. The Meade instructions Say Nothing that
the fiber optic tube is flimsy at best and is tethered to the top of the
cover. It can break-off easily as I found out. Then trying to get the
fiber optic end to stay in place was a real joy to do. I had to use some
Silicone Glue to slightly tack it down in place. The trick is getting
the output of the fiber optic to face precisely at the exit hole on the
LNT's top cover. Don't get any glue over the end of the fiber optic
either.

I had a problem of Multiple images(ghost dots) when viewing. If you look
carefully at the LNT's cover where that exit hole is for the Red Dot,
mine wasn't flush. It was as if the factory took a pair of cutting
diagonals to clip the translucent exit port. The translucent plastic
port was raised up a bit and had formed a bar shaped edge that went
across the diameter of that port. I sharp Meade tech. told me to take a
new safety razor blade and cut off that excess and make the port flush
with the LNT"s cover. I did that and I get one Red Dot now.

I hope it helps you.

John

Subject:	Autostar 497 - seemingly missing option for smart finder setup.
Sent:	Saturday, April 12, 2008 22:13:23
From:	patric9956@aol.com (patric9956@aol.com)
Hello, I am Patrick O'Brien.  I posted the following on the Meade forum
and several of its inhabitants mentioned that I should refer my problem
to you.  Apparently, you have quite a reputation as a ETX Guru.  So here
is my posting related to the missing in action Smart Finder setup option
on the Autostar 497.  Thank you in advance for any assistance you can
provide.



Ok, I am perplexed.  Just got my ETX-125PE last night, put batteries in,
input my unique identifiers as prompted by autostar, attempted an
alignment - but alas no red dot.  Pulled out the manual - page thirteenn
says - hold mode button for 2 seconds until you get the RA and Dec
display and then scroll down until you get to the finder set menu. 
Well, there is NO Finder set menu.

Figured the software is hosed up or out of date.  Find the latest 43Eg
ROM on Meade.com and proceed to flash the autostar controller.  Well
this turned out to be a fiasco as the com port lost communication -
scrambling the controller.

Did some searching, found how to place controller into a safe mode -
reflashed - ahh, success.

Cycled power, hit mode button for 2-3 sec, got to the RA/DEC screen, hit
the down-scroll and STILL NO Finder scope setup.  I get all sorts of
options (Alt/Az; zipcode and date;Latitude; Longitude;Time and LST;Timer
and Alarm;Battery Level; and then back to RA/DEC)- just no "Finder Set,
Set" menu.

WTF?!!!

Took apart the finder scope. Tested battery - it is dead.  Head down to
Walmart, bought a new CR2032, popped that sucker in - Still no red
dot!!!!

Repeat above procedure many times over with autostar - still no joy -
cannot find SECRET PORTAL to finderscope setup menu.

OK, so any help or advise to find SECRET DOOR would be welcome.  Do I
need to stand on one foot while hitting the mode button - or perhaps
chant some incantation?

Frustrated in Illinois.

PS - Yes, I took the plastic protective covering off of the Smart
Finder.



Also, pressing the "0" key does not seem to have any affect on turning
on the red dot.  I should actually see the LED light up on the scope,
correct?

Patrick O'Brien
Mike here: Does the AutoStar have the Auto Align option under the Align options? If not then the AutoStar is not "seeing" the LNT/Smartfinder module. If that option is there then the LNT is seen and the Finder option should be in the MODE menu. One thought: the new Smartfinder design has a rubber cover over the Smartfinder lens (the lens is on top instead of the left side where it was on earlier designs). If you need more help there are some LNT/Smartfinder troubleshooting articles on the Helpful Information: Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	re: ETX 125 home position question
Sent:	Monday, April 7, 2008 20:44:30
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
You wrote:
> The scope tends to be about 1/8th rotation to the left
> of its alignment stars when I do my alignment.

Have you performed the "Calibrate Sensors" procedure?
(under Setup/Telescope)

Doing so informs the Autostar of the difference between its idea
of magnetic north and your -real- local variation between mag north
and true north.

Do that, and the 1/8th turn may disappear on subsequent setups.

have fun
--dick

Subject:	ETX 125 home position question
Sent:	Monday, April 7, 2008 07:46:53
From:	Joseph Duider (jduider@lumc.edu)
I have an ETX 125 PE (with LNT) and its incredible.  I do have a
question though.  The scope tends to be about 1/8th rotation to the left
of its alignment stars when I do my alignment.  I setup the scope in the
home position, all the way counter clockwise.  I noticed in the manual
that for manual alignment you must go to the hard stop them 1/4 turn
clockwise and align the fork over the control panel.  On my scope doing
a 1/4 turn back leaves the scope about 1/8 turn short of the manual
"home position".  When all the way to the hard stop should the scope be
pointing straight west like the control panel or SW?
 
Thanks,
Joe
Mike here: There are two HOME positions for Alt/Az, one for Auto Align and one for the other (non-LNT) alignment modes. For Auto Align you do rotate CCW to the hard stop and leave it there. For the other modes you rotate CCW to the hard stop and then back about 120 degrees to point the telescope tube to True North. For all modes you should have the control panel on the west side.
Subject:	re: Information
Sent:	Monday, March 31, 2008 20:31:26
From:	richard seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
The chips used in the LNT module are described here:

http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/2005/lnt1.html

have fun
--dick

And:

From:	mhogansr@comcast.net (mhogansr@comcast.net)
The LNT uses a 2-axis accelerometer, P/N D2020E, to determine level.
While I don't have a schematic, you can see a layout of the board, with
major component callouts, here:
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/2005/lnt1.html
 
You can see the spec sheet for the MEMSIC MXD2020E chip here:
www.memsic.com/data/products/MXD2020E/MXD2020E.pdf
 
Regards,
Mike Hogan

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